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Expert Committee to restructure Railways will be formed – Minister

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Cabinet Spokesman and Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said there should be a massive change in the Railways Department in terms of structure, quality and quantity and the railway service should be made into the most beneficial and convenient and developed service in future.

He was speaking at the Cabinet decision announcement press conference held at the Government Information Department yesterday (25).

The Minister further said the Cabinet of Ministers approved the appointment of a committee on the subject to come up with appropriate proposals regarding the restructuring of the Railway Department to find a lasting solution.

The Minister said it was the norm at the Railways Department to make thousands uncomfortable on the basis of a minor issue, and that the railways, which are the main means of public transport used by the public and private sector working people, are inconvenienced by the constant strikes, which is a big issue and the opinion that the railways should be privatised had arisen among the people.

He said that he, as the subject Minister had consulted all Railway Unions and given instructions that any problem could be resolved by coming to a common consensus at the institution level, ministry level or the Government or through negotiations.

There is a new tourist train to Jaffna in August and renovation work of the railway line from Anuradhapura to Mahawa will begin from January 2024.

The Minister emphasized as Minister he informed the Criminal Investigation Department in writing about fraud, theft and corruption irregularities committed by people who claim to be the leaders of certain trade unions in the Railway Department.

The Minister mentioned that a national level criminal investigation is currently being conducted into railway tracks theft, obtaining foreign contracts, getting contractors’ checks illegally and it has been revealed that a large number of crimes have been committed. He said that there is a situation where people involved in such anti-corruption activities cannot be tolerated.

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